The phrase—“to live upon God that is invisible” in the title came from John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) own mouth. He said that after reading 2 Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Here Bunyan realized that if ever he would suffer rightly, he must first consider himself dead to anything precious to him in this world which includes his very own loved ones; and second, he must live upon God that is invisible, which means for him to endure sufferings he must focus on things that have eternal value. Such a realization became Bunyan’s passion throughout his life. With God’s help, after Bunyan became a believer, he had endeavored to serve the invisible God faithfully even in the midst of his sufferings. This attitude is what John Piper wants to promote among Christians, especially among pastors.
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Note: Piper’s “To Live Upon God that Is Invisible: Suffering and Service in the Life of John Bunyan” was a paper he delivered at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, 1999.